Arne Olufsen proved surprisingly resistant to interrogation.
Peter Flemming questioned him on the day of his arrest, and again on the following day, but he pretended to be innocent and revealed no secrets. Peter was disappointed. He had expected the fun-loving Arne to break as easily as a champagne glass.
He had no more luck with Jens Toksvig.
He considered arresting Karen Duchwitz, but he felt sure she was peripheral to the case. Besides, she was more use to him roaming around freely. She had already led him to two spies.
Arne was the prime suspect. He had all the connections: he knew Poul Kirke, he was familiar with the island of Sande, he had an English fiancee, he had gone to Bornholm which was so close to Sweden, and he had shaken off his police tail.
The arrest of Arne and Jens had restored Peter in General Braun's favor. But now Braun wanted to know more: how the spy ring worked, who else was in it, what means they used to communicate with England. Peter had arrested a total of six spies, but none of them had talked. The case would not be wound up until one of them cracked and revealed all. Peter had to break Arne.
He planned the third interrogation carefully.
At four o'clock on Sunday morning he burst into Arne's cell with two uniformed policemen. They woke Arne by shining a flashlight in his eyes and yelling, then pulled him out of bed and marched him along the corridor to the interrogation room.
Peter sat on the only chair, behind a cheap table, and lit a cigarette. Arne looked pale and frightened in his prison pajamas. His left leg was bandaged and strapped from mid-thigh to shin, but he could stand upright - Peter's two bullets had damaged muscles but had not broken any bones.
Peter said, "Your friend Poul Kirke was a spy."
"I didn't know that," Arne replied.
"Why did you go to Bornholm?"
"For a little holiday."
"Why would an innocent man on holiday evade police surveillance?"
"He might dislike being followed around by a lot of nosy flatfoots." Arne had more spirit than Peter had expected, despite the early hour and the rude awakening. "But, as it happens, I didn't notice them. If, as you say, I evaded surveillance, I did it unintentionally. Perhaps your people are just bad at their job."
"Rubbish. You deliberately shook off your tail. I know, I was part of the surveillance team."
Arne shrugged. "That doesn't surprise me, Peter. You were never very bright as a kid. We were at school together, remember? In fact we were best friends."
"Until they sent you off to Jansborg, where you learned to disrespect the law."
"No. We were friends until our families quarreled."
"Because of your father's malice."
"I thought it was over your father's tax fiddle."
This was not going the way Peter planned it. He switched his line. "Whom did you meet on Bornholm?"
"You walked around for days and never spoke to anyone?"
"I picked up a girl."
Arne had not mentioned this in previous interrogations. Peter felt sure it was untrue. Maybe he could catch Arne out. "What was her name?"
"I didn't ask."
"When you came back to Copenhagen, you went into hiding."
"Hiding? I was staying with a friend."
"Jens Toksvig - another spy."
"He didn't tell me that." He added sarcastically, "These spies are a bit secretive."
Peter was dismayed that Arne had not been more weakened by his time in the cells. He was sticking to his story, which was unlikely but not impossible. Peter began to fear that Arne might never talk. He told himself this was just a preliminary skirmish. He pressed on. "So you had no idea the police were searching for you?"
"Not even when a policeman chased you in the Tivoli Garden?"
"That must have been someone else. I've never been chased by a policeman."
Peter let the sarcasm sound in his voice. "You didn't happen to see any of the one thousand posters of your face that have been put up around the city?"
"I must have missed them."
"Then why did you change your appearance?"
"Did I change my appearance?"
"You shaved off your moustache."
"Someone told me I looked like Hitler."
"The girl I met on Bornholm, Anne."
"You said her name was Annika."
"I called her Anne for short."
Tilde Jespersen came in with a tray. The smell of hot toast made Peter's mouth water. He trusted it was having the same effect on Arne. Tilde poured tea. She smiled at Arne and said, "Would you like some?"
Peter said, "No."
This little exchange was an act. Tilde was pretending to be nice in the hope that Arne would warm to her.
Tilde brought in another chair and sat down to drink her tea. Peter ate some buttered toast, taking his time. Arne had to stand and watch them.
When Peter had finished eating, he resumed the questioning. "In Poul Kirke's office, I found a sketch of a military installation on the island of Sande."
"I'm shocked," Arne said.
"If he had not been killed, he would have sent those sketches to the British."
"He might have had an innocent explanation for them, had he not been shot by a trigger-happy fool."
"Did you make those drawings?"
"Sande is your home. Your father is pastor of a church there."
"It's your home, too. Your father runs a hotel where off-duty Nazis get drunk on aquavit."
Peter ignored that. "When I met you in St. Paul's Gade, you ran away. Why?"
"You had a gun. If not for that, I would have punched your ugly head, the way I did behind the post office twelve years ago."
"I knocked you down behind the post office."
"But I got up again." Arne turned to Tilde with a smile. "Peter's family and mine have been at loggerheads for years. That's the real reason he's arrested me."
Peter ignored that. "Four nights ago, there was a security alert at the base. Something disturbed the guard dogs. The sentries saw someone running across the dunes in the direction of your father's church." As Peter talked, he watched Arne's face. So far, Arne did not look surprised. "Was that you running across the dunes?"
Arne was telling the truth, Peter felt. He continued, "Your parents' home was searched." Peter saw a flicker of fear in Arne's eyes: he had not known about this. "The guards were looking for a stranger. They found a young man asleep in bed, but the pastor said it was his son. Was that you?"
"No. I haven't been home since Whitsun."
Once again, Peter thought he was telling the truth.
"Two nights ago, your brother Harald returned to Jansborg Skole."
"From which he was expelled because of your malice."
"He was expelled because he disgraced the school!"
"By daubing a joke on a wall?" Once again Arne turned to Tilde. "The police superintendent had decided to release my brother without charges - but Peter went to his school and insisted they expel him. You see how much he hates my family?"
Peter said, "He broke into the chemistry lab and used the darkroom to develop a film."
Arne's eyes widened visibly. Clearly this was news to him. He was rattled, at last.
"Fortunately, he was discovered by another boy. I learned of this from the boy's father, who happens to be a loyal citizen and a believer in law and order."
"Was it your film, Arne?"
"The head teacher says the film consisted of photographs of naked women, and claims he confiscated it and burned it. He's lying, isn't he?"
"I have no idea."
"I believe the photographs were of the military installation on Sande."
"They were your pictures, weren't they?"
Peter felt he was at last beginning to intimidate Arne, and he pressed his advantage. "Next morning, a young man called at Jens Toksvig's house. One of our officers answered the door - a middle-aged sergeant, not one of the force's intellectual giants. The boy pretended to have come to the wrong address, looking for a doctor, and our man was gullible enough to believe him. But it was a lie. The young man was your brother, wasn't he?"
"I'm quite sure he was not," Arne said, but he looked frightened.
"Harald was bringing you the developed film."
"That evening, a woman in Bornholm, who called herself Hilde, telephoned Jens Toksvig's house. Didn't you say you had picked up a girl called Hilde?"
"Who is Hilde?"
"Never heard of her."
"Perhaps it was a false name. Could she have been your fiancee, Hermia Mount?"
"She's in England."
"There you are mistaken. I have been talking to the Swedish immigration authorities." It had been hard to force them to cooperate, but in the end Peter had got the information he wanted. "Hermia Mount flew in to Stockholm ten days ago, and has not yet departed."
Arne feigned surprise, but the act was unconvincing. "I know nothing of that," he said, too mildly. "I haven't heard from her for more than a year."
If that had been true, he would have been astonished and shocked to learn that she had certainly been in Sweden and possibly in Denmark. He was definitely lying now. Peter continued, "The same night - this is the day before yesterday - a young man nicknamed Schoolboy went to a waterfront jazz club, met with a small-time criminal called Luther Gregor, and asked for help to escape to Sweden."
Arne looked horrified.
Peter said, "It was Harald, wasn't it?"
Arne said nothing.
Peter sat back. Arne was badly shaken now, but overall he had put up an ingenious defense. He had explanations for everything Peter threw at him. Worse, he was cleverly turning the personal hostility between them to his advantage, claiming that his arrest had been motivated by malice. Frederik Juel might be gullible enough to believe that. Peter was worried.
Tilde poured tea into a mug and gave it to Arne without consulting Peter. Peter said nothing: this was all part of the prearranged scenario. Arne took the mug in a shaky hand and drank thirstily.
Tilde spoke in a kindly voice. "Arne, you're in over your head. This isn't just about you anymore. You've involved your parents, your fiancee, and your young brother. Harald is in deep trouble. If this goes on, he'll end up hanged as a spy - and it will be your fault."
Arne held the mug in both hands, saying nothing, looking bewildered and scared. Peter thought he might be weakening.
"We can make a deal with you," Tilde went on. "Tell us everything, and both you and Harald will escape the death penalty. You don't have to take my word for that - General Braun will be here in a few minutes, and he will guarantee that you'll live. But first you have to tell us where Harald is. If you don't, you'll die, and so will your brother."
Doubt and fear crossed Arne's face. There was a long silence. At last Arne seemed to come to a resolution. He reached out and put the mug on the tray. He looked at Tilde, then turned his gaze to Peter. "Go to hell," he said quietly.
Peter sprang to his feet, furious. "You're the one who's going to hell!" he shouted. He kicked his chair over backward. "Don't you understand what's happening to you?"
Tilde got to her feet and left quietly.
"If you don't talk to us, you'll be turned over to the Gestapo," Peter went on angrily. "They won't give you tea and ask polite questions. They'll pull out your fingernails, and light matches under the soles of your feet. They'll fasten electrodes to your lips, and throw cold water over you to make the shocks more excruciating. They'll strip you naked and beat you with hammers. They'll smash the bones of your ankles and kneecaps so that you can never walk again, and then they'll carry on beating you, keeping you alive and conscious and screaming. You'll beg and plead with them to let you die, but they won't - not until you talk. And you will talk. Get that into your head. In the end, everyone talks."
White-faced, Arne said quietly, "I know."
Peter was taken aback by the poise and resignation behind the fear. What did it mean?
The door opened and General Braun came in. It was now six o'clock, and Peter had been expecting him: his appearance was part of the scenario. Braun was the picture of cold efficiency in his crisp uniform with his holstered pistol. As always, his damaged lungs made his voice a gentle near-whisper. "Is this the man to be sent to Germany?"
Arne moved fast, despite his injury.
Peter was looking the other way, toward Braun, and he saw only a blur as Arne reached for the tea tray. The heavy earthenware teapot flew through the air and struck the side of Peter's head, splashing tea over his face. When he had dashed the liquid from his eyes he saw Arne charge into Braun. Arne moved clumsily on his wounded leg, but he knocked the general over. Peter sprang to his feet, but he was too slow. In the second for which Braun lay still on the floor, gasping, Arne unbuttoned the general's holster and snatched out the pistol.
He swung the gun toward Peter, holding it two-handed.
Peter froze. The gun was a 9mm Luger. It held eight rounds of ammunition in the grip magazine - but was it loaded? Or did Braun wear it just for show?
Arne remained in a sitting position but pushed himself backward until he was up against the wall.
The door was still open. Tilde stepped inside, saying, "What - ?"
"Stay still!" Arne barked.
Peter asked himself urgently how familiar Arne was with weapons. He was a military officer, but in the air force he might not have had much practice.
As if to answer the unspoken question, Arne switched off the safety catch on the left side of the pistol with a deliberate movement that everyone could see.
Behind Tilde, Peter could see the two uniformed policemen who had escorted Arne from his cell.
None of the four policemen was carrying a gun. They did not bring weapons into the cell area. It was a strict regulation imposed to prevent prisoners from doing exactly what Arne had just done. But Braun did not consider himself subject to the regulations, and no one had had the nerve to ask him to hand in his weapon.
Now Arne had them all at his mercy.
Peter said, "You can't get away, you know. This is the largest police station in Denmark. You've got the drop on us, but there are dozens of armed police outside. You can't get past them all."
"I know," Arne said.
There was that ominous note of resignation again.
Tilde said, "And would you want to kill so many innocent Danish policemen?"
"No, I wouldn't."
It all began to make sense. Peter remembered Arne's words when Peter had shot him: You stupid pig, you should have killed me. That fitted with the fatalistic attitude Arne had displayed since his arrest. He feared he was going to betray his friends - perhaps even his brother.
Suddenly Peter knew what was going to happen next. Arne had figured out that the only way to be completely safe was to be dead. But Peter wanted Arne to be tortured by the Gestapo and to reveal his secrets. He could not let Arne die.
Despite the gun pointed straight at him, Peter dashed at Arne.
Arne did not shoot him. Instead, he jerked back the gun and pressed its nose into the soft skin under his chin.
Peter flung himself on Arne.
The gun barked once.
Peter struck it from Arne's hand, but he was too late. A gush of blood and brain sprayed from the top of Arne's head, making a fan-shaped stain on the pale wall behind him. Peter fell on Arne, and some of the mess splashed on Peter's face. He rolled away from Arne and scrambled to his feet.
Arne's face was strangely unchanged. The damage was all behind, and he still had the ironic smile he had worn as he put the gun to his throat. After a moment, he fell sideways, the smashed back of his skull leaving a red smear on the wall. His body hit the floor with a lifeless thud. He lay still.
Peter wiped his face with his sleeve.
General Braun got to his feet, struggling for breath.
Tilde bent down and picked up the pistol.
They all looked at the body.
"Brave man," said General Braun.